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Homeland Security

Jury Deliberations Begin in Boston Bombings Trial

by VOA News April 07, 2015

U.S. jurors began deliberations Tuesday in the trial of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a day after both the prosecution and defense told the court he deserves to be punished.

The 12 jury members must first decide whether Tsarnaev, 21, is guilty of the 30 federal charges against him for his role in the April 2013 attack. If they convict him, the trial will enter a second phase, when the jurors must sentence him to either life in prison or death.

Three people were killed and 264 others wounded in the twin blasts set by Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan. The elder Tsarnaev died after being shot by police and accidentally run over by his younger brother four days following the bombings.

The defense has argued that the younger Tsarnaev was an aimless college student who fell under the domineering influence of his radicalized sibling.

Prosecutors said the brothers, who were born in Kyrgyzstan and lived briefly in Russia's mostly-Muslim Dagestan region before coming to the U.S., were driven by Islam and seeking retaliation against the U.S. for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The prosecution concluded its case last week with graphic testimony from a medical examiner about the blast injuries that killed 8-year-old Martin Richard - the youngest victim in the attack.

Several jurors cried as they were shown autopsy photos of the boy, who suffered a ruptured stomach, broken bones and third-degree burns when his body was torn apart by one of the pressure cooker bombs.

The boy's parents were in the courtroom as their son's devastating end was described. Another medical examiner told the court how Chinese exchange student Lingzi Lu, 23, bled to death on the sidewalk.

The defense has admitted that Tsarnaev participated in the attack and made clear from the beginning that its strategy is not to win acquittal, but to save him from the death penalty.

Some material for this report came from AP, AFP and Reuters.

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